Entertaining is no easy task. I don’t want to sound offensive but not everyone is a natural entertainer or host. Throwing a great party comes with a bit of planning. There’s a balancing act of maintaining energy, generating conversation, helping guests feel welcome + bringing all the details together with ease. Trust me when I say, throwing a backyard bbq, an elegant dinner party or an all-night-balls-to-the-wall rager is serious work. Same goes for the holidays.
Thanksgiving, or any major holiday-meal is an undertaking. No host will ever tell you they whipped up their big feté on a whim. Planning out a menu, shopping for ingredients, setting the table, selecting wines + even confirming the guest list are all activities to be accounted for. Additionally, hosts have to clean their house (hopefully!), stock the bar and then tend to their guests. All the while, making sure everything is cooking away in the kitchen. Wow, so much work!
I truly love to entertain and actually find it to be fun (chaotic fun!). I have never hosted a traditional thanksgiving meal but I have successfully pulled off a party or two. Most recently, we celebrated cohen’s big u-n-o with a mexican fiesta. The backyard party was low-key but full of thoughtful details. A couple months ago, I hosted a group of girlfriends for a ladies + lettering event. The night could have failed quickly due to a very sick + fussy baby boy but we powered through because of engaging entertainment + a bit of humility. Likewise, my door to door organics event was one of my favorite dinners to date. There was a ton of planning but combined with wonderful company, delicious food + the perfect late summer weather, the evening came together harmoniously.
There are a few general rules I like to follow when entertaining friends + family. Regardless of the formality of the get-together, it is important to make sure your guests feel welcomed + comfortable. Below are my tried-and-true tips to be the hostess with the mostess.
- greet your guests – you might not have every last detail taken care of when your 1st guest arrives but it is important to take a moment to stop + welcome them to your home. Thank them for coming + make sure they feel at ease before you start fussing with your veggie tray.
- offer refreshments – there is nothing more irritating that having to rummage through someone’s home for a beverage. Or worse, having to ask for a drink because one is never offered. Within a couple minutes, offer your guests a drink or snack. If you are only serving a select offering, make sure you communicate what options are available.
- put out fresh towels – a quick change-out of your kitchen + bathroom towels from the ones your kid uses to wipe their toothpaste on, takes 2 minutes. Fresh towels feel thoughtful + intentional.
- set the ambiance – turn up the music, get those dimmers working, light a candle + remove excess clutter. Think about your 5 sense and try to adjust your atmosphere to hit on each of those elements.
- over-plan food + drinks – you would much rather have leftovers than run out of wine or 7-layer dip when your party is just getting started. Stock the bar, prepare an extra appetizer + refresh serving bowls throughout the event.
- ask for assistance – no one expects a host to do it all. Kindly ask a guest to bring a case of beer or a side dish to accompany your meal. When the night wraps up, if someone offers to help clean up, graciously accept a little help clearing the table.
- stay calm – nothing ever goes off seamlessly but rarely will a guest notice. You could overcooked a casserole, spill wine down your shirt or totally forgot to serve the dessert… oops! Keep a smile on your face + your wits about yourself.
- be thankful – yes, you are the host but you should be just as grateful for your guests’ attendance, as they should for being invited. Make a point to be genuinely appreciative for your guests, especially if they brought a gift or helped you during your event.
What are your tips for being a great host? Is there a general rule you always follow when entertaining in your home?